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The best small electric cars 2023

EVs come in all shapes and sizes and small ones make perfect cars for commuting, urban driving and general scooting about – here are our favourites

Dan Trent

Words by: Dan Trent

Auto Trader

Additional words by: Auto Trader

Last updated on 19 May 2023 | 0 min read

Electric car headlines are inevitably dominated by the latest premium models with their huge batteries, crazy horsepower and supercar-beating acceleration times. And, it’s true, the incredible pace of development in battery electric vehicles (or BEVs) is largely being driven by the strides folk like Tesla, Porsche, Audi and BMW are making at the top end of the market. But, back in the real world, there’s also a growing number of smaller, more affordable electric cars to choose from.
Electric power makes perfect sense for cars like this too, given they generally cover shorter distances so don’t need big, expensive batteries.Plug it in overnight and you start each day effectively with a ‘full tank’, and more than enough range to cover a typical commute, school run or kind of errands most people use small cars for. These are our current favourites.

Cupra Born

Spanish brand Cupra, formerly the sporty arm of SEAT, is becoming known as much for its prowess with EVs as it is for performance. Brilliantly, the Cupra Born combines both sportiness and electric power into one appealing package. It’s the racier alternative to Volkwagen’s ID.3 hatchback, but the Cupra has smarter exterior styling and, some would say, a more intuitive and usable interior. You can get a range of more than 300 miles or a 0-62mph time of just 6.6 seconds from the Cupra Born, depending on which battery and power output you pick, but whichever model you choose, you’ll be in one of the best small EVs around.
Read the review or explore the Cupra Born range on Auto Trader

Fiat 500 Electric

Retro looks and modern tech prove a winning formula for the newly electrified Fiat 500, this urban favourite given a whole new lease of life in battery powered form. While it looks pretty similar to the previous ICE version this is in fact an entirely new car, as you’ll see from the much more modern looking interior and tech. It’s also available with a choice of two battery sizes, so if you’re confident you’ll only be doing short trips you can save money upfront by going for the smaller one. If you need to go a bit further afield the 42kWh option gives you that freedom, and is comparable with cars like the Vauxhall Corsa-e.
Read the review or explore the Fiat 500 range on Auto Trader

Vauxhall Corsa-e

While some people are keen to make a design statement with their EVs the Corsa-e goes the other way and just looks, well, normal. That’s no bad thing, given how fundamentally decent the Corsa is all-round and makes the emotional leap a lot less intimidating. It’s just a Corsa at the end of the day, the fact it’s powered by batteries and a motor rather than a petrol engine a pragmatic choice. Good to drive with perky performance, the official 200-mile range is more than enough for most small car journeys too. If that appeals but you want something a little funkier looking the Peugeot e-208 is basically the same car underneath but, perhaps, just that bit more stylish.
Read the review or explore the Vauxhall Corsa range on Auto Trader

Honda E

What were we just saying about design statements? If the idea of an electrified Vauxhall Corsa or Peugeot 208 just seems a little too safe and you want to announce your electric switch to the world there are few better looking ways of doing it than the retro-modern Honda E. Perhaps larger in the metal than you might expect from the pictures, it’s still a beautiful looking thing on the outside and – arguably – even better on the inside. We enjoyed living with one and the coolness of that design never gets boring, though the limited range can be a little frustrating at times. If you rarely leave city limits and want to look cool around town that won’t be an issue, though.
Read the review or explore the Honda E range on Auto Trader

Mini Electric

Like the Fiat 500 Electric, the Mini Electric puts an electrified twist on past glories and leans heavily on the retro styling that has served the British-built icon well for two decades since its modern reinvention. Parent company BMW kickstarted its early experimentation in electric cars with the Mini some years back, learning much from early adopters who, effectively, were part of the test programme. That experience shows in the overall polish of the Mini Electric’s driving manners, which successfully translate the nippiness and sharp handling we’ve always enjoyed in the ICE versions into the electric age. A bit more range would be nice but the Mini Electric looks good, goes well and is a successful reinvention of a deservedly popular small car.
Read the review or explore the Mini Hatch range on Auto Trader

Mazda MX-30

Where European brands like Mini and Fiat have repurposed retro design for their electric small cars Japanese rivals like Honda and Mazda have got a bit more creative with the format. And the MX-30 is a great-looking car, with a hint of fashionable SUV stance, a stylish interior trimmed in cork in a nod to Mazda’s origin story and those quirky, reverse-hinged rear doors. It also drives with the spirit we enjoy in all Mazda products, the lightness and precision at the wheel making it more fun than many equivalent EVs. The deliberate decision to go with a small battery to save weight and cost restricts the viable range to those doing shorter, urban trips but a ‘range extender’ version with a small onboard generator is coming for those who need to go further.
Read the review or explore the Mazda MX-30 range on Auto Trader

Peugeot e-2008

Based on the same basic foundations as the e-208 (and Vauxhall Mokka-e) the Peugeot e-2008 proves full electrification can be made viable and affordable in the popular compact SUV/crossover market. It looks great, has enough space to handle the school run and general family errands, has plenty of performance and the official range of about 200 miles will be plenty for the typical usage a car like this gets. Given the quality of the product, growing interest in electric models and general popularity of this style of car we’d expect it to hold its value pretty well, too. Peugeot also has an excellent record for reliability. Wins all round!
Read the review or explore the Peugeot 2008 range on Auto Trader


While the modern-day MG might be unfamiliar to most folks, this is a brand with real heritage. Its speciality in the 2020s is electric cars, with the brilliant MG4 perhaps the pick of the bunch. It won the 2023 UK Car of the Year Award and for good reason – you get anything up to 281 miles from this Volkswagen ID.3-rivalling hatchback, as well as strong performance, a large and well-equipped interior, and a practical, spacious boot. Better yet, MG sells all its cars with a generous seven-year warranty, giving owners all the peace of mind they could need to take the plunge on the MG4.
Read the review or explore the MG MG4 range on Auto Trader

ORA Funky Cat

True, Chinese brand ORA is a new face on the European market and something of an unknown quantity. But the Funky Cat has gone down well with its cute, retro styling and impressive interior quality. The technology underpinning this newcomer is good too, as a good-sized battery pack allows for a range approaching 200 miles, while an 80kW maximum charging rate means the Funky Cat’s battery can be quickly replenished at rapid DC public stations. Furthermore, a peppy motor allows the ORA to nip around with the best of them in urban traffic, so this is a strong all-rounder if you fancy a small EV which stands out from the norm.
Read the review or explore the ORA Funky Cat range on Auto Trader

Citroën Ami

Officially a quadricycle rather than a car and designed with city car-sharing schemes in mind, the Citroën Ami is restricted to 28mph and incredibly basic inside. That, the limited performance, and the relatively high upfront cost perhaps make it less appealing as a private purchase. But, as pay-as-you-go urban transport it looks a step up from the bikes and e-scooters prevalent in many cities across the world and – whisper it – it’s actually quite fun to nip about in, so long as you don’t go anywhere near bigger, faster roads.
Read the review or explore the Citroën Ami range on Auto Trader
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